Central Notes: Bulls, Giannis, Ivey, Pistons

After making only minor roster moves for a second straight summer, the middling Bulls might be best served by fully embracing a tank, opines Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times.

Cowley writes that team president Arturas Karnisovas and general manager Marc Eversley need to concede that their momentous roster reconstruction in 2021 ultimately did not succeed, and the club must now pivot to offloading big veterans in exchange for future draft equity. Cowley believes Chicago’s top priority should be finding a young point guard it can build around.

With star wings DeMar DeRozan and Zach LaVine leading the charge, the Bulls have gone a cumulative 86-78 over the past two regular seasons, with just a single playoff game win to their credit.

There’s more out of the Central Division:

  • Though Bucks All-NBA power forward Giannis Antetokounmpo is now eligible to ink a three-year, $169MM contract extension, he has indicated he intends to wait until next summer to make a decision. At that point, he could agree to a four-year deal worth a projected $234MM (or potentially more, depending on where the NBA’s salary cap lands). He has a $51.9MM player option for the 2025/26 season. Should Antetokounmpo eventually ask for a trade, he would entice the entire league, Adrian Wojnarowski said on Friday on ESPN’s NBA Today (YouTube video link). “Listen, the possibility of a player like Giannis Antetokounmpo becoming available, it creates a frenzy around the league behind closed doors,” Woj said.
  • Second-year Pistons shooting guard Jaden Ivey is hoping to take a step up defensively in 2023/24, writes Omari Sankofa II of The Detroit Free Press. The 6’4″ guard showed improvement as a shooter and passer throughout his rookie season last year, and is now looking to develop on the other side of the ball. “Being able to just play better defense, I think that’s what I tried to lock into more [over the summer],” Sankofa opines. “Using my speed to get through ball screens and not giving up on ball screen reads. Always staying on the play, always staying involved defensively. I feel like I got better in that aspect.”
  • In a new reader mailbag, Sankofa addresses a variety of Pistons topics, including whether he thinks Detroit could try to trade for Pacers sharpshooter Buddy Hield, whether or not combo forward Isaiah Livers will earn rotation minutes amidst a deeper frontcourt, and more.
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